Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Defiance

By Valerie Hobbs

“Toby knew he was in trouble, but the cow didn’t. She just kept gazing at him with her huge brown eyes, like she was in love or something. . . His mother would have a fit if she knew.”

Toby Steiner is 11-years-old and has just completed cancer treatment. He and his mom are supposed to be doing something “normal” like taking a vacation. Toby meets Pearl through the cow, Blossom. His first impressions are formed by the sign on the door, “Whoever Steals My Freedom Takes My Life.” Initially, he thinks Pearl is a witch with white hair flying and a crooked stick.

Pearl is not a witch, she is a 94-year-old who is from a world very different from the world Toby has grown up in. Pearl was born into a world where there were no televisions, or computers, or cell phones. She knows about milking cows, reading poetry, and learning the secrets of life from animals like Blossom and Geraldine the cat. Pearl and Toby share a darkness in their lives – Toby’s because of cancer and Pearl’s because of the murder of her husband.

Together they learn from Blossom one of the many secrets of life that will raise the darkness from their own lives. They realize that they have not reached a time that is right for them to stop living.

This novel is only 116 pages in length, but it touches the reader emotionally and leaves you thinking about the story long after you have finished reading.


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